CMS Cameron McKenna’s graduate recruitment partner Simon Pilcher explains how most of what has happened in his career has been unexpected.
Firm: CMS Cameron McKenna
Department: Human Capital (Pensions)
Degree subject: Law
Hobbies: Watching sport and playing guitar (badly)
How long have you been a partner? Almost 8 years
Who/what inspired you to be a lawyer? My secretary said Martin Shaw but I don’t watch enough TV as I remember him from The Professionals. There used to be an American show called LA Law and I thought I’d get to work with Susan Dey.
What things did you wish you knew before embarking on a legal career? Most of what has happened in my career has been unexpected but not unpleasant. I guess it would have been useful to know that talking to and understanding clients is just as important as the law.
What does your typical day involve? Talking to clients and colleagues pretty much sums it up.
What are the most challenging aspects of your job? There’s no getting away from it – life as a City lawyer is very hard. Clients are challenging and competitors are pretty good.
What has been the highlight of your legal career so far? I was immensely proud at becoming a partner.
What are the best aspects of your job? Most things. The people definitely.
What are the worst aspects of your job? Not a lot. The hours, demanding clients but overall I’m very happy.
What tips would you give to students who want to break into the legal profession? Get some work experience and then get some more. Think about what skills you have and what firms are looking for.
What are the most common mistakes you’ve seen candidates making? Spelling mistakes (never, ever acceptable) and failing to appreciate that you need some understanding/interest in the City to be a good City lawyer.
How has the legal market changed since the days you were a trainee? More is expected of trainees now but on the flip side of this, more training and assistance is given.
What impact has the recession had on your firm? Business has slowed down in some areas but it’s also picked up in others. Overall, if you look at the numbers we are recruiting, not that much.
What three words best describe your firm? This reminds me of my favourite, George W Bush saying “You know why I dislike the French? They don’t have a word for entrepreneur.” That and ambitious and collegiate.
Where did you go for your last holiday? New York.
What gadget/gizmo would you be lost without? Blackberr